The first digital version of the Canadian Ecological Framework was developed in a joint initiative between Environment Canada (EC) and Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC) between 1992 and 1995 and published in 1996. In collaboration with the CCEA, EC performed the consultative and policy planning while AAFC completed the GIS analysis and spatial interpretations. The spatial analysis utilized physiographic and climatic data interpreted to the Soil Landscapes of Canada (SLC), a national 1:1,000,00 soil map and data product.

This 2014 update is limited to the broadest level of ecological classification in Canada, the Ecozone. This new spatial framework replaces the 1995 ecological framework as well as the temporary Ecozone+ framework used for the Ecosystem Status and Trends Report.

The approach we have used is to compile all the spatial ecological frameworks as defined by each Province and Territory. After compiling and re-projecting in a geographic information system, we spent time matching the lines across jurisdictions without compromising the original mapping. We did this by checking against digital elevation models, Landsat images and even Google Earth.

What’s new? For the first time, we are presenting both marine and terrestrial Ecozones on one map. There are also three additional terrestrial Ecozones. Specifically, there is one small extension of an Alaska Ecozone which comes into the Yukon. The second one is in southern British Columbia which is the termination of a larger Ecozone in north-west of the United States. The third one is in the Atlantic regions to separate Quebec-New Brunswick’s Atlantic Highlands from the Atlantic Maritime Ecozone. Accounting for these will greatly facilitate the integration with the North American ecological framework from the Commission for Environmental Cooperation (NAFTA). A technical report in preparation will give more details.

This level of generalization is well suited for national scale reporting. In the last 20 years, all Provinces and Territories have refined and automated their respective regional ecological framework. It is important, then, to provide a current national perspective which accurately reflects current regional efforts. This map fulfills this requirement. Remember that this is a generalization for national planning and reporting purposes. Detailed ecological information remains with jurisdictions.